04_mehtaLive Recordings 1963-2006

Zubin Mehta; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Helicon Classics 02-9625

To honour Zubin Mehta’s 40th Anniversary as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Helicon Classics has assembled this set of thirty-seven live performances selected from Mehta’s expansive repertoire, from Vivaldi to now.

Heard are soloists Arie Vardi, Yefin Bronfman, Radu Lupu, Alicia de Larrocha, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Chaim Taub, Daniel Benyamini, Marjana Lipovšek, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin, Lyn Harrell, Stella Richmond, Mischa Maisky, and many more. The set includes a disc of music by Israeli composers. Available space precludes listing the works but among the standouts is Bloch’s Schelomo, enjoying a blazing interpretation by cellist Mischa Maisky supported by Mehta and a white-hot orchestra. It’s one for the books. The Verdi Requiem was recorded at an open-air performance in July of 1968 given in Manger Square in front of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity following a call for peace in the Holy Land. The concert started late so as not to disturb the call to prayer from the adjacent Jamma El Omar mosque. The soloists are Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett, Richard Tucker, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. This performance generated headlines and is included as a significant event. The recorded sound in this case is merely adequate.

There is an overall characteristic bloom around each of these performances and a distinct impression that the musicians are attentive to each other. Perhaps it is this and their esprit de corps that has resulted in the orchestra’s identifiable patina on every performance heard on these discs.

This is an attractive collection of idiomatic performances of mostly familiar works, well played and well recorded. Complete details of the contents at www.heliconclassics.com.

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